Where To See Gorillas in Africa
Is your dream watching the gentle giants in their natural habitat?It is possible for that dream to come true!
You can trek these endangered gorillas in the mountainous areas of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorilla safaris introduces you to an exclusive and an unforgettable chance of interacting with the gentle and powerful giants. You are at liberty to choose where to track Mountain Gorillas from.
Mountain Gorillas are the largest primates in the world and the remaining number of them is found in central and East Africa; thanks to the conservation parties that have ensured safety and protection of these species. The trek is tiresome in most cases but as you continue trekking there is nothing as exciting as hearing your guide say these words “there they are”.
Truth is that all efforts of this trek immediately evaporate and all you start doing is enjoy watching these giants for an hour. You will watch the young ones jump from branch to branch, watch also the female giants feed and groom the groups as well as the Silverback as he ensure safety of his territory. Take as many photos as you can but still follow the instructions given by your guide.
Here is where to watch Gorillas from;
Uganda is one of Africa’s top destinations to watch gorillas. They can be tracked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and also Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; both these are found in the southwestern part of Uganda. Mgahinga Park lies in the Virunga Massif which also is shared by the parks in DR Congo and Rwanda.
There are 4gorilla sectorsin Bwindi; Rushaga, Ruhijja, Buhoma, and Nkuringo they are well habituated and open for tourism; Mgahinga has one habituated group known as Nyakagezi. Every group allows only 8 individuals to trek per day. In Bwindi is also home to over 200 butterfly species and 350 species of birds; hence also birders can have a great time this area.
There is also a possibility of gorilla habituation though the permit for this goes for 1500USD and 4hours are given to the people to do this activity per day, hence will have more time interacting with the gorillas. In order for one to trek gorillas they need a gorilla permit which is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority and each goes for 600USD.
How to get there; fly into Uganda at Entebbe Internal Airport, and from there you are welcomed to the Pearl of Africa and you will transfer to one of the above parks by road which is approximately an 8hours drive, you can also go by air using the regional charter flights that fly into Kisoro airstrip.
This is where gorilla trekking is so straight-forward since the gorillas are trekked in Volcanoes National Park which is located about 80km away from Kigali International Airport which is approximately a 2hours drive. During your visit to Rwanda for Gorilla trekking you will pay respect at Dian Fossey’s grave one of the great conservationists of these giants. More information from Visit Rwanda Guide. Along this place are many birds and monkeys with great and stunning views of landscape.
The guides are professional and kind, they will lead you through from the starting point until you meet the gorillas, they will also help you endure the steep slopes. It is advisable you trek during the dry season because in the rainy season the paths tend to be muddy and slippery. But still above all whether muddy or not, after meeting these gentle giants all your worries are dissolved. A gorilla permit in Rwanda goes for 1500 USD per person, its permit costs slightly higher than that of Uganda.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The Mountain Gorillas found here are the same group as those found in Rwanda’s Volcanoes and Uganda’s Mgahinga, but note that some the group scattered in these three national parks is different from that found in Bwindi Forest Impenetrable in Uganda. The mighty giants are found in Virunga National Park which is a recognized UNESCO heritage site
There are also Eastern lowland gorillas found in Kahuzi-Biega National Park one of the biggest parks in the country. Therefore you are at liberty to trek anywhere though, Virunga National Park is widely known. Another thing is since DR Congo has had political unrest in the past, it is important that you have enough information about its political state before you travel
The gorilla permit costs 400USD, this is cost per person.
What are the main differences between trekking gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda?
Mountain gorilla trekking is a skillful organized and well-built ecotourism adventure. It is the number one tourist attraction in both Rwanda and Uganda, where you will stay, since there is a good range of accommodation choices that are available to you. You need to take a deep breath and enjoy the final guide to mountain Gorilla trekking. The ranger guides are also well trained and will automatically look after you and will feed you with enough information about gorilla trekking. These know about the gorilla population and speak English in Uganda and those of Rwanda, speak French.
The merits of tracking the mountain gorillas in Uganda
The drive from Kampala to Bwindi is so lovely and this takes a full day of travel. Though you are tracking the mountain gorillas in Bwindi buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga or Mgahinga National park, you will also enjoy a scenery view enroute. The gorilla permits in Uganda are cheaper and UWA offers off peak season discounts. Uganda has got lots of things to offer before or after your gorilla trekking safari. Rwanda and Uganda are so near to each other , however , you could also track the gorillas in Rwanda and also drive to Uganda for the rest of holiday in East Africa and vice versa
You can meet the beautiful mountain gorillas at Kinigi which is the base for gorilla trekking in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park. There are also over 880 mountain gorillas that live in the mountains that span Uganda, DRC AND Rwanda. This activity is a must for the eco- tourist’s travel list, tracking the mountain gorillas which is a unique wildlife adventure. Each and every meeting with the gorillas is different.
“There is no one who looks into a gorilla’s eyes which are so intelligent, gentle, and vulnerable and can remain unaffected, for the gap between apes and the human disappears; we also know that the gorillas still live with us. Do these species even recognize this ancient connection?- George B. Schaller, Gentle gorillas and National Geographic.
The activity was so low when I first took on Uganda gorilla safaris in Bwindi impenetrable Forest in Uganda. The main highlight of this trek was seeing a baby gorilla hanging from one arm in the moss covered trees above us. The hike through the tea plantation and the mist covered slopes of the jungle like the forest were the magic part of the whole experience too.